AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog
10 Years of Success: AWS and ClearScale
“10 Years of Success” is a blog series celebrating a decade of the AWS Partner Network (APN) through stories of partner transformation, collaboration, and customer success.
By Amanda Mock, Program Manager – AWS Partner Network
By Pavel Pragin, Chief Executive Officer – ClearScale
Ten years ago, we launched the AWS Partner Network (APN). A decade later, we’re still continuing to learn and innovate together with our partners.
Next in our “10 Years of Success” series, we’re featuring ClearScale, an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner that helps customers design, build, deploy, and manage complex cloud architectures on time and on budget.
As early adopters of Amazon Web Services (AWS) technology, ClearScale provides customized cloud solutions that improve operational efficiency and increase business agility for their customers.
With AWS Competencies in Migration and Digital Customer Experience, among others, ClearScale leverages its deep technical expertise and experience using cloud technologies to help customers like Acoustic, a marketing technology company, migrate business-critical applications to the cloud.
“We needed to migrate to AWS and modernize our workloads to support our cloud-based marketing platform and reduce high IT costs,” explains John Boezeman, Chief Technical Officer at Acoustic. “This was a massive project that involved more than 6,300 servers from 12 global data centers and eight full-stack applications on an aggressive 10-month timeframe. The project was a tremendous success, thanks to our collaboration with ClearScale.”
Q&A with ClearScale
We spoke with Pavel Pragin, Chief Executive Officer at ClearScale, about how their business has grown and evolved over the last decade, what APN resources and partner programs have been most valuable, and their role in one of the largest AWS migration and modernization projects.
AWS: What made you decide to become an AWS Partner back in 2012?
Pavel Pragin: As a whole new era of cloud computing emerged, we realized the traditional IT hosting infrastructure was going to be disrupted. This was the future and we wanted to get in at the beginning. There was a huge opportunity for consulting, because we knew there would be a large demand for services since few people had skills in this area.
We recognized that AWS had the strongest offering, the best technology, and was easy to work with. It was a pretty obvious choice, really.
AWS: Ten years is a long time in the tech world. What changes have you seen in your customers and/or in your industry during that time?
Pavel: A lot has changed and we’ve noticed several trends over the years. First, our customers have evolved from being almost exclusively startups to now mostly being midmarket or enterprise businesses. The majority of our early customers were first-mover companies in the software and ISV space.
Then, we started seeing a new wave of companies, including marketing tech, health tech, and FinTech firms looking for digital transformation. Our customers that migrated in the early days of the cloud are now doing more modernizations than migrations.
Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and Internet of Things (IoT) on the cloud have become more popular in recent years. And we’re seeing more companies approaching the cloud as a business driver versus purely a technical driver (which we saw more in the early days).
In addition, enterprises are moving past lift-and-shift migrations. Instead, they want consulting partners that can help with cloud-native development. This is one of our strengths at ClearScale. What organizations need today is a cloud consulting company that can be a strategic partner, rather than just a point-in-time, tactical service provider.
Successful cloud consulting companies are now more than technical solution providers. The best cloud consulting firms are tailoring solutions to their customers’ specific business objectives, and then continuously managing and optimizing IT operations. They’re also business solution providers, identifying ways to reduce clients’ IT expenses, creating a cost optimization plan, and executing that plan.
Remote work, smaller budgets, and the ability to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances are impacting the industry and forcing companies to adjust their IT infrastructures. In many instances, they must do so with fewer employees due to downsizing, or cope with a significantly heavier workload without additional headcount. It’s a classic “do more with less” scenario.
AWS: What transformation and growth has your business gone through in the last 10 years?
Pavel: Since joining the APN, ClearScale has evolved to AWS Premier Tier Services Partner status. Starting out as an application development shop focused on startups, today we have grown to a full-service AWS consulting firm across all industries and services.
But despite our growth, we’ve kept it true to what we do best—AWS. That’s why over the years we’ve been able to master different AWS services and earn 11 AWS Competencies, including Machine Learning, SaaS, Microsoft Workloads, and Data and Analytics. We’ve completed over 1,000 AWS projects for more than 500 customers, which gave us experience across industries.
As a result, we’ve had multiple years of over 100% YoY revenue growth. We’ve also grown from around 20 employees to nearly 300 since becoming an AWS Partner.
AWS: What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome, and how did you evolve and adapt to resolve them?
Pavel: In the beginning, we were challenged to build strong technical capabilities in multiple AWS services. We overcame this challenge by hiring experts and building focused teams, learning from projects, continuously training and acquiring AWS technical certifications, and staying on top of the latest, cutting-edge AWS technologies. As AWS is constantly evolving and adding new services and capabilities, we try to keep up.
AWS: How has partnering with AWS grown or evolved for your business since 2012?
Pavel: Based on the 1,000+ cloud projects we’ve completed as an AWS Partner, we’ve evolved over time to encompass all the major cloud services. For example, we use automation to help customers get agile and deploy code quickly. We can even design the actual product itself—the application code—or rebuild their product to make it cloud-native. We’re more and more focused on helping customers harness their big data to improve their products and services.
We also go beyond basic lift-and-shift migrations to help organizations modernize their platforms and apps on the cloud. In fact, we were able to migrate 6,300 servers and eight full stack applications for Acoustic in just 10 months.
AWS: What APN resources or programs have you leveraged most effectively to build and differentiate your business?
Pavel: ClearScale has leveraged various funding benefits available to AWS Partners for new go-to-market activities, enabling us to reach new customers and differentiate our business. We’ve attained 11 Competencies, which helps validate and promote our offerings with demonstrated AWS technical expertise and proven customer success.
Last but not least, we have nine Service Delivery designations that demonstrate our deep technical knowledge, experience, and proven success in delivering specific AWS services to our customers.
AWS: Tell us about your experience collaborating with other AWS Partners on business solutions for your customers.
Pavel: We recently worked with Astadia on migrating and modernizing legacy mainframe systems on AWS. This was a great relationship because of our combined expertise: Astadia provides accelerated workload migration to AWS through its Astadia FastTrack Factory, and ClearScale has the application development and modernization expertise required to transition monolithic mainframe applications into customized, cloud-based microservice applications.
AWS: In your opinion, what’s the best part about working with AWS or your most favorite aspect of being an AWS Partner?
Pavel: AWS is an industry leader, so of course it’s great to work with the best in the business. AWS offers a lot of great programs to support partners. We’ve tremendously benefited from Marketing Development Funds (MDFs), funding for projects, and other generous AWS Partner offerings. We predict continued rapid growth at ClearScale; introducing new services and continuing to expand our enterprise business even more.
AWS: What is your fondest AWS memory or experience?
Pavel: We have lots of great memories working with AWS, like earning the Premier Tier Services Partner designation. One particularly special memory was being mentioned during the main keynote at the second AWS re:Invent by Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS at the time.
About the AWS Partner Network
The AWS Partner Network (APN) is a global community of partners that leverage programs, expertise, and resources to build, market, and sell customer offerings. This diverse network features 100,000 partners from more than 150 countries.
Together, partners and AWS can provide innovative solutions, solve technical challenges, win deals, and deliver value to our mutual customers.
▶ Read Jeff Barr’s blog post about the APN’s anniversary: 10 Years and Going Strong!
▶ See other stories in the APN’s “10 Years of Success” blog series.